Predicate offenses can trigger a variety of woes for our clients: mandatory minimum sentences, increased guideline sentences, detention hearings, and removal, to name some of the most common. These offenses generally fall into one of four categories: (1) force-clause offenses; (2) enumerated offenses; (3) drug offenses; and (4) residual-clause offenses. When analyzing a prior conviction (or current offense) to determine whether it can be categorized as a relevant predicate offense, it is important to note the precise predicate language of the statute or guideline at issue. And now that the residual clauses are off the table (or ought to be, even where they haven't yet been held unconstitutional), it's time to take a closer look at how the remaining categories of predicate offenses are defined.
The following chart tracks and compares the language of commonly invoked predicate offenses. It is now accessible in pdf format via the link on step one of our Analyzing Prior Convictions flowchart. Or simply click the pages of the below images to embiggen them here.